I believe I'm damned.

Ralph,

Your writings here reflect everything I've read of the Scriptures and you don't pull any punches. God bless you for that. What does it take to have received the Word and then turned from it (Hebrews 6:4-8)? I believe I am damned for having been raised in the Church, taught the 10 Commandments and then bought into my Science teacher's pitch that evolution explains creation. Once an agnostic, I have made selfish immoral mistakes repeatedly that are now done because I was confronted with exposure. Not a noble reason to cease sinning. I have worshipped at the altar of the Almighty $ more than at the altar of the Almighty and Jesus Christ. I have recently come to put my full faith in God and Jesus Christ, but Hebrews tells me that Jesus is no longer there for me since I turned from God and him as an ignorant teenager. I don't see anything in the Bible that puts an age threshhold on receiving the Word and by virtue of my knowing the basic 10 Commandments, if I violate one or more of them repeatedly with full knowledge of its being a Commandment, I was willful and defied God and he turned from me forever. That means I am damned out of my ignorance.

If one is damned, is the only reason not to end one's life that damnation is surely worse than any experience here on earth and that we are God's creation and how arrogant of us to end our lives before his timetable for us is up? I know that I am a financial burden to my family (I'm unemployed due to quitting a job that offered intolerable pressure) and in the future to society. It seems to me that the Temporal life demands an end to that burden and the Eternal one argues against taking one's life. You also argue that once dead, all choices are over, so you're better off not ending your life. Isn't your argument that you're always better off keeping the chance of God's grace open to you by not angering him any further than you already have?

My response is in Green:

I am sorry I did not have the time this morning to finish this, but I think I have good news for you.

First I want to show you something that Jesus said that concerns this: (John 6:44 NIV) No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

What Jesus is saying in that passage is that unless God draws you, you will never on your own come to Him. So if you now want to get right with Christ it can only be because God is drawing you. God will never draw someone and then refuse to save them.

Let me address that passage in Hebrews, because I know it bothers a lot of people. It bothered me, because like you I walked away from my faith in my late teens and stayed away for almost 20 years before coming back to Christ. I too was afraid that I fit that passage and was doomed to suffer in hell for eternity. I prayed a lot about that and did a lot of study and found the answer. Neither of us fit that scripture.

As the book name indicates this book (the book of Hebrews) was written to Hebrew (Jewish) believers. Let me quote the passage here and then explain more:

(Hebrews 6:4-8 NIV) {4} It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, {5} who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, {6} if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

{7} Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. {8} But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

Notice that I split the passage at verse 7. I will explain that more later, but that is where the Bible splits them too. Now if you look at verses 4-6 you see what looks like condemnation for both you and me. It looks at first like anyone who backslides is lost forever. But you always have to take the Bible as a whole. So you have to decide is this passage if taken to mean people like you and me, consistent with the rest of the Bible? The answer is no, it is not. Jesus said there was only one unforgivable sin and that was blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and backsliding is not that. Also 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we will confess our sins He will forgive us. That too was written to believers, so since backsliding is a sin 1 John 1:9 should cover that too. There are many other passages of scripture where God calls the backsliders back to Him.

So we know that if we take this passage at face value it is not consistent with the character of God or the rest of His word. So we need to figure out what is going on. We need to go back to who this book was written to. It was written to Jewish believers. At that time the Jews were sacrificing animals for the forgiveness of their sins.

What the author of Hebrews is saying is that those Jews who have come to understand and believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ, if they go back to Judaism and try to cover their sins with the blood of animals, then they are rejecting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and they won't ever be able to come back, because it would mean re-sacrificing Christ.

See some of the Jews were torn, they had family and friends who still believed that sacrifices were needed for forgiveness. Some of these Jewish believers were wavering in their faith. Some of them wanted to cover all the bases so to speak, so they went back to Judaism and the sacrifice of animals to 'just make sure' their sins were forgiven. In doing so they were rejecting the only real sacrifice that could cover their sins. Once they did that they could not just come back and start believing again in Christ, because they had already rejected His sacrifice.

Now I can't know for sure, but I doubt that is what you did. I think you were much more like me, you just kind of left God standing there and walked away to have your fun and serve your own idols (whether those idols were money, sex, etc...). You did not try to gain salvation through some other means and thereby reject the only sacrifice available to save you. There is a big difference.

Now let me go back to verses 7-8. (Hebrews 6:7-8 NIV) {7} Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. {8} But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

Yes it is speaking of people who drink in God's grace and blessings and don't produce any worthwhile fruit and we both fit that description, but wait, look closer at verse 8. It says 'is in danger of being cursed.' It does not say that it is cursed but it is in danger. That is a completely different thought then verses 4-6 which speak of something that can't be changed once it happens. Verses 7-8 show that if that land (or person) starts to produce fruit it will be spared. That is us, we need to come back to God and start acting the way we know we should and start bearing fruit for Him.

I would agree with your assumption that if a person is damned they there is not reason not to commit suicide, but don't let Satan try to convince you that you are damned, because you are not or God would not be drawing you back. I do believe there are such people today. Maybe not so much that they have believed and then tried to find a different way to God, but that they have closed themselves off from God and His drawing so long that God finally gave up on them. According to Jesus once God quits drawing that person will never come to Him. So in effect they are already damned and lost. But again your message to me proves that is not you.

It is time to praise God, get your life on track and start bearing fruit for Christ. If God is not done with your life, then you should not be either.

Ralph

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